Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Russian MFA Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko Interview to RIA Novosti on the Upcoming Visit to Cuba by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov

Russian film "Alexandra", (2007), Sokurov.In theaters in Havana.
Picture by Dimitri Medvedev

Question: How are bilateral relations with Cuba developing in the trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres?

Answer: In addition to examining the tasks in capacity building for political interaction, the talks will feature themes of deepening and diversification of Russian-Cuban trade-and-economic and financial-and-investment ties and promotion of large joint cooperation projects in the fields of electricity, hydrocarbons, transport infrastructure, biopharmaceuticals and high technology. The bilateral trade turnover of around 0 million objectively does not match the existing potential of our countries. We expect the situation to improve after a successful meeting between the co-chairs of the Russia-Cuba Intergovernmental Commission for Commercial, Economic and Scientific-Technical Collaboration (Moscow, January 25-27), the tenth regular session of which will be held in Havana in April.
An important role in bilateral relations belongs to cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian sphere. It is planned to send up to 100,000 tons of Russian wheat in gratuitous aid to Cuba this year (the first shipment of 25,000 tons is scheduled for the first half of February).
In addition to the special status of Russia's representation at the Book Fair, our country has received an invitation to participate as a guest of honor in the Fit Cuba 2010 Tourism International Fair, the 30th such fair to be held this upcoming May. Some 40,000 Russian tourists visit the island annually, whose number is constantly increasing. The practice has been reopened of sending Cuban citizens to Russian tertiary education institutions to study under the Russian government scholarship program